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Police Officers Join Missing Children Alert System

March 20, 2002
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Police Officers Join Missing Children Alert System

Associated Press

ANCHORAGE (AP) - Police officers in four Alaska cities have joined a Florida-based group that helps find missing children.

Officers from police departments in Anchorage, Kenai, Unalaska and Wasilla announced Tuesday they've joined with A Child is Missing, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based nonprofit that helps law enforcement alert neighbors when a child is missing.

The program began in Florida five years ago. Alaska is the sixth state to have police departments sign up.

A Child is Missing is on 24-hour standby for police to call and request an alert. Founder Sherry Friedlander said alerts must go out within two hours to be effective.

The organization maintains a database of phone numbers in the areas it works with. It can record an alert and have a computer call 1,000 neighbors every five minutes. The message includes the child's description and last known location and urges the call recipient to look around their area.

The system also can be used when an elderly or mentally ill person is missing.

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